The staff innovation competition supports Kiilto’s extensive research and development work. This year’s winning proposition is a service that helps to speed up bonding and ensure its quality.
This year’s Kiilto Up innovation competition was won by a service concept where the drying process of bonding layered structures is monitored using a sensor.
The leader of the winning team, Head of RDI for Industrial Adhesives Soilikki Kotanen, who works in Kiilto’s product development, says that the solution can significantly speed up bonding processes.
“The sensor tells us exactly when the adhesive has dried enough in order to be processed further. We generally allow quite generous margins of error when it comes to drying times, since the ambient temperature and humidity can affect the duration of the drying process significantly.”
The winning solution can also be utilised to ensure the quality of all bonded elements completed on the product line.
The customer is offered either a one-off factory consultation combined with sensor measurements, or a more continuous digital bonding quality assurance service.
In addition to Soilikki Kotanen, Tapani Harjunalanen and Katja Suuriniemi from Kiilto also worked on the solution.
Katja Suuriniemi (left), Tapani Harjunalanen and Soilikki Kotanen formed the winning team in Kiilto Up 2021.
Fresh ideas for further development
Jussi Hannula, the leader of the Kiilto Up competition, explains that this was the third time the annual competition was held.
“We do a lot of research and development work at Kiilto, and good ideas pop up all around the company. The goal of the innovation competition is to shed light on new ideas and help the company refine them further. It also allows people from different teams or cities to join forces and work together.”
Hannula says that service business was chosen as this year’s theme since it is an important strategic area for Kiilto. The concepts that made it to the final were all of a very high quality, and all ideas were deemed potential for Kiilto’s future business.
The second prize went to an auditing service that helps increase resource and energy efficiency in professional kitchens. The solution also includes a centralised portal for e.g. technical maintenance reports.
The third prize was awarded to a coating service that can be used to extend the cleaning intervals of various types of surfaces, among other things. Specially designed coatings can be used to e.g. prevent graffiti from sticking to certain surfaces or increase the efficiency of solar panels.
Still room for customers in the pilot phase
Soilikki Kotanen says that the team is currently in the process of developing the digital bonding quality assurance service further.
“We interviewed our customers early on in the process, mapping out their experiences and wishes. Now, in the pilot phase, we are able to include even more customers. We are looking for plywood manufacturers who are using a two-component polyurethane adhesive,” Kotanen says.
Kotanen firmly believes that sensors are the new normal for future bonding processes. She compares them to sports watches.
“Sure, you can sleep and play sports without a sports watch. But after using the watch for a while, it is hard to imagine how you managed without one previously. It gives you so much useful information,” she says.